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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Survey and Control Grant

The Great Lakes Restoriation Initiative provided a $600,000 grant to survey and control the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) along the lakeshore and inland streams of Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana and Mason Counties. This project will improve forest health in four West Michigan counties by surveying and controlling the spread of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a non-native Invasive pest that has degraded forest ecosystems throughout the Northeastern forests from Maine to Michigan. Recently discovered in West Michigan, WMSRDC will work with the West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Mangament Area (WM CISMA) the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as public and private landowners to slow the spread of this invasive pest.

This grant concluded in December of 2019. During the course of this grant, a HWA strike team focused on finding the northern most extent of the infestation. They then treated these trees back toward the main infestation in an attempt to contain and slow the spread of this devastating pest. A total of 3,583 acres, covering 809 parcels, were surveyed in the farthest extents and in the most infested areas of Oceana County. A total of 28,945 hemlocks were surveyed, tagged and GPS data recorded regarding their size, location, HWA status, and general health. Using the GPS data collected, the HWA crew, led by the Ottawa Conservation District and partnering with Bartlett Tree Experts, began treating infested hemlock trees and seedlings. Treatments began in the outer most extents and the teams worked inward to create a buffer of uninfested hemlock trees. Hemlock trees that did not show any signs of HWA, but were within 800 feet of any positive HWA trees, were prophylactically treated to protect them from infestation. Between the HWA Crew and Bartlett Tree Services a total of 15,446 hemlock trees and seedlings were treated on over 835 acres of land, including the Village of Pentwater and Golden and Benona Townships in Oceana County. This grant worked to educate landowners, land managers, service professionals, instructors, students and other various community partners about the importance of hemlocks to Michigan’s forests and how to identify hemlock trees and to look for signs of HWA. The survey and treatment practices used during this grant were developed to be able to use on other current and future invasive species treats.

Visit the HWA website to learn more about identification and reporting of HWA in West Michigan. www.SaveMIHemlocks.org

For more information please contact Drew Rayner, West Michigan CISMA Coordinator, drew.rayner@macd.org, or 616-402-9608.